Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Open Letter To Doctor Ernest Hilaire

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OPEN LETTER – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON THE FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE CASTRIES CONSTITUENCY COUNCIL 

The South Castries Youth and Sports Council (hereinafter referred to as the “SCYSC”) is a legitimate affiliate of the National Youth Council, and a youth organization recognized by the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports. We are a non-partisan, community-based NGO, who is tasked with the responsibility to represent the interest of youth within the Castries South and Castries South East political districts, of which you are the Parliamentary Representative for the former. We are aware that the Castries Constituency Council is responsible for the Castries South District, however as the people’s representative this request falls under your purview.

The Castries Constituency Council (hereinafter referred to as the “Council”was established in accordance with the Constituency Council’s Act of 2012 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”). The purpose the Act as set out in Section 3 is to:

  1. improve the delivery of social services to constituencies; and
  2. to assist in the management of resources to be used for the development of constituencies.

The Act also states in section 27 (1), “each council shall keep proper records of its accounts in relation to the execution of its functions under this Act for a period not less than seven years. Subsection 5 indicates; “Each Council shall as soon as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, and no later than six months after the end of that financial year, submit to the Minister a report containing in respect of each Council,

  1. a detailed account of its activities during the preceding financial year, in such detail as the Minister directs; and
  2. a statement of the audited accounts for that financial year.
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Subsection 6 states that “a copy of the report and statement of audited accounts referred to in subsection (5) shall be laid before Parliament and published in the Gazette no later than 3 months from the date of receipt by the Minister”.

The South Castries Youth and Sports Council believes that the Council is accountable to the members of the Castries South district which is serves and by extension the youth who are an integral part thereof and it is on this premise that we write you this letter. On condition of the requirements set out in the Act, please advise whether: –

  1. The Council been keeping “proper records of its accounts” as per section 27(1),
  2. The Council sent to the Minister responsible for local Government, a report containing, “a detailed account of its activities during the preceding financial year” and “a statement of the audited accounts for that financial year”, as per subsection 5(a) and (b) respectively; and
  3. Parliament has received a copy of these reports, and have they been published in the Gazette in keeping with subsection 6.

The publication of these reports in the gazette render them accessible to the public for review and analysis. We have searched for these reports on the Government of Saint Lucia and Government Printery’s website to no avail.

It is important for us to determine whether the youth were beneficiaries of these “social services” and what fraction of the Council’s budget was allocated to projects directly benefiting the youth of our constituency. If the reports have been published, kindly direct us to the Gazette issue date and number so we can retrieve same. If these reports have not been provided to the Minister and Parliament, the SCYSC would appreciate an explanation from you or the Council for the non-submission of the reports, and to confirm the total sum which was allocated to the said Council by the Government. We appreciate when our leaders embrace transparency as it is indicative of their willingness to govern with the people. We are confident that you will accede to our kind requests.

Thank you in anticipation of your kind cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Robert René
PRESIDENT

CC:
Honorable Leonard “Spider” Montoute – Minister for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment
His Worship Mayor Peterson Francis – Mayor
Yvonne James – Director of Audit
Nyus Alfred – President of the NYC
ALL MEDIA HOUSES

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Editorial Staff
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